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Rising wave of youth street robberies hits East London borough

Met police addresses concerns as young people face increased attacks and thefts, including incidents on buses

An East London borough has seen a sharp rise in young people robbing and attacking each other on the streets, a Met Police chief superintendent has revealed.

During a Barking and Dagenham Council overview and scrutiny committee meeting with the Met Police on Tuesday evening (5 December), Ch Supt Stuart Bell of the East Area Command said the borough has seen a huge increase in street robberies involving young people.

Labour councillor for Thames View ward, Fatuma Nalule said she was concerned after a number of young people, including her own child, had been robbed and left half-clothed at bus stops after having their jacket or shoes stolen.

Cllr Nalule said: “At the moment there are a lot of fights, a lot of attacks are happening on buses and on public transport with young people.

“Many have been left at bus stops – including mine – with no jackets or no shoes, but there is no CCTV.”

She went on to argue that CCTV isn’t working on London buses, adding: “CCTV doesn’t work on buses so I’m just wondering what are the police doing about that?

“We can guard everyone outside but what is being done with buses? Because many children are being attacked on buses.”

Ch Supt Bell then responded and said that most buses have to work CCTV and that the problem was partly down to the police being called sometimes after a young person had been robbed.

He said: “I think there is CCTV on most buses so if a child is robbed, or has their property stolen or is attacked on the bus; the one thing we’re finding is that on most of those occasions, we’re not being called there and then.

“We’re being called later, the child will go home… we’re not being called. There’s only about two in seven cases where that happens, where we get called there and then.”

He said the Met Police has an ‘additional layer of policing’ on London transport through its safer transport teams, a unit made up of police officers who patrol the bus network and other transport hubs.

Ch Supt Bell went on to say: “We have seen an increase in street robbery as well on the buses, so we have got a problem in Barking and Dagenham around young people attacking and stealing from other young people.

“It’s really increased, it’s often peer-on-peer same age groups often associated with violence so that’s something that we want to tackle, it’s definitely not just happening on the buses.

“The best advice we can give is to call us and dial 999 because we can catch people quite quickly when they respond, but there’s definitely CCTV on buses, they’ve got some of the [best] CCTV.”

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